Five Star, Feb 2004, 25.95, 269 pp.
TV producer and host of the series Murder! Clark Kester hires mystery screenwriter Pete Castle to solve a homicide that will be the feature of this year's debut program. Pete is to identify who murdered movie swashbuckler Jock Newhall following the wrap party of the filming of Love's Lonely Quest. The homicide occurred four decades ago and no one has solved it yet, but on the positive side the key players still live. On the negative side, no one wants the investigation opened and Clark has been threatened.
As Pete makes inquiries questioning the prime cast members, his father (head of security at Pacific Studios at that time) comes under suspicion. Pops refuses to talk about what happened the night that someone murdered Jock. Soon a copycat murder occurs as the culprit, probably the same person who killed Jock, murders Clark, making it imperative that Pete identify the killer(s) before someone else is dead.
The cast makes A BLOOD RED ROSE an intriguing who-done-it as the hero struggles with his concern that his beloved Pop is intricately involved in at least a cover-up or worse. The story line hooks the audience with readers wondering how Pete will solve a case that is frozen. Though a punk's attempt to run the hero over with a forklift seems out of place, Pete makes the tale move at a fast clip. His interviews of the key players who starred in the ill fated film, the victim's granddaughter, the cop who investigated the homicide, his reluctant dad, and a medium claiming to speak with Jock's ghost leave readers with a fine mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner